Adrian Quaife-Hobbs claimed the final GP3 pole position of the season at Monza, pipping Nico Muller at the very end of the session.
Quaife-Hobbs needed to gain the two bonus points for pole position to keep his mathematical chances of winning the title alive, and still needs to win both races and record both fastest laps to stand a chance of beating current points leader Valtteri Bottas.
The Briton's Manor Racing teammate Rio Haryanto topped the timesheets several times during the session, and was on top in the closing stages. Jenzer Motorsport driver Muller then moved ahead with his final attempt, before Quaife-Hobbs popped up with a time 0.062s quicker than the Swiss driver.
He suggested afterwards that pole position may not necessarily be the best place to start the race from due to the slipstreaming nature of the races at the Italian circuit.
“I don't think you can lead lights to flag at this track,” said Quaife-Hobbs. “As long as I keep in a good position at the front fighting you just have to wait for the final few laps. I think we've proved that we've got the pace as I set my fastest lap near the end and without much of a slipstream. Outside shot at the title is very outside, but third is clearly possible as it's only three points away now.”
Muller added his view: “I think we saw it last year there was a big group leading all race long and changing positions all race long so I think it will be similar this year again, and I hope to stay in the top three all race long and then fight for the win in the final few laps.”
Haryanto, who ended up third, said: “I hope to have a good race. I need a good start and then we will see. I think there will a lot of battles on track between the few front rows. As you've seen, once you get a tow you gain massively on the driver on front of you. I'm just hoping to be on the podium, but obviously a win would be even better.”
Mitch Evans was fourth, while the two title rivals and ART duo Valtteri Bottas and James Calado will share the third row of the grid. Practice pacesetter Simon Trummer was seventh, with Michael Christensen, Tamas Pal Kiss and Tom Dillmann completing the top ten.
Title outsiders Nigel Melker and Alexander Sims have work to do from 13th and 11th on the grid respectively.
|1||Adrian Quaife-Hobbs||Marussia Manor Racing||1:43.788||15|
|2||Nico Muller||Jenzer Motorsport||1:43.850||0.062||15|
|3||Rio Haryanto||Marussia Manor Racing||1:43.943||0.155||15|
|4||Mitch Evans||MW Arden||1:44.030||0.242||15|
|5||Valtteri Bottas||Lotus ART||1:44.058||0.270||15|
|6||James Calado||Lotus ART||1:44.093||0.305||15|
|7||Simon Trummer||MW Arden||1:44.215||0.427||14|
|8||Michael Christensen||RSC Mucke Motorsport||1:44.241||0.453||14|
|9||Tamas Pal Kiss||Tech 1 Racing||1:44.256||0.468||14|
|10||Tom Dillmann||Addax Team||1:44.263||0.475||14|
|11||Alexander Sims||Status Grand Prix||1:44.288||0.500||14|
|12||Ivan Lukashevich||Status Grand Prix||1:44.465||0.677||15|
|13||Nigel Melker||RSC Mucke Motorsport||1:44.471||0.683||14|
|14||Antonio Felix da Costa||Status Grand Prix||1:44.475||0.687||14|
|15||Gabby Chaves||Addax Team||1:44.560||0.772||15|
|16||Aaro Vainio||Tech 1 Racing||1:44.584||0.796||13|
|18||Zoel Amberg||Atech CSR GP||1:44.765||0.977||14|
|19||Lewis Williamson||MW Arden||1:44.800||1.012||13|
|20||Matias Laine||Marussia Manor Racing||1:44.858||1.070||14|
|21||Vittorio Ghirelli||Addax Team||1:44.867||1.079||14|
|22||Maxim Zimin||Jenzer Motorsport||1:44.981||1.193||13|
|23||Richie Stanaway||Lotus ART||1:45.004||1.216||13|
|25||Marlon Stockinger||Atech CRS GP||1:45.293||1.505||13|
|26||Daniel Mancinelli||RSC Mucke Motorsport||1:45.330||1.542||13|
|27||Thomas Hylkema||Tech 1 Racing||1:45.363||1.575||13|
|28||Nick Yelloly||Atech CRS GP||1:45.760||1.972||13|
|30||Christophe Hurni||Jenzer Motorsport||1:46.355||2.567||14|